emma b. says

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I watched the great orange sun list into the Pacific, the bay was flat and glassy, a willing mirror to the sky, hues of azure, drifting fey lavender. The East Bay windows set ablaze. Silhouettes of churches in purple mountains majesty and there I am on the forty-sixth floor feeling heavy and disconsolate on such a perfect evening, and the days are growing longer, and I had caught a glimpse of a blossoming cherry out of the futherest corner of my eye from a bright yellow cab this morning.

The sweetness of the promise of Spring steals over the senses like an opiated lip balm, shedding so many layers of clothing, like so many layers of chapped skin to walk down to P's on the first of February, an oasis in winter. The stars are such bright pricks of white in the deep, blue night. The night blooming jasmine is stirring.

Then again, on the way home, a good pigeon shat upon me. Am a beacon for bird shit, a better poet would find a suitable metaphor. I'd rather let it dangle.

That is my photograph of my West Coast, my California, my landscape, my city, my mantle. A far cry from where I spent last week the mystical city of New York.

Long before I had spent any time acquainting myself with such a tangle of streets and brick I had read Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities", and it might be a peculiar device to turn the world's most visible city into an invisible city, but I always thought that New York would be all things to all people, and would disappear, then thrive in it's invisibility, always all things to all people.

This was my first experience with New York in winter, and jesus, mary and joseph, my delicate, sunny Californian constitution was completely unprepared. Pinpinette saved my flesh when she lent me a proper winter coat, as it was we left the charming restaurant in Tribeca and the temperature had tempestuously dropped and the wind picked up, and the assault on my being was truly awe inspiring. Tears froze on my cheeks, snot froze in my nose, the chill set about gnawing on my extremities, my lips froze in a rictus of complete surprise, I was evidently able to utter s-s-s-scotch and was conducted to the Soho Grand for a warm up.

Amazing, though, just how fast a body will acclimate to the cold, truth be told, it was a bitter adventure, and since my meeting ended up being canceled, I spent five days navigating the bright sunlight, broad boulevards, narrow neighborhoods, gray snow and frozen digits with frequent stops in grand old bars for warm ups, nothing like a mid-day scotch (funny, I am not such a big scotch drinker, but no other libation appealed to me, only the amber fire spreading across my palette and through my limbs -- with the exception of a particularly tasty watermelon martini, or three, that washed down the particularly tasty chocolate cupcake from the Magnolia bakery)

I did not meet with any grievous bodily harm, nor did I fortuitously hook up with any French men, any men at all for that matter. Although, after a grueling trudge through the East Village through Nolita, Little Italy, China Town and down to the Fish Market (mind you, I traversed back and forth) I called Pinpinette for a good spot for a warm up and she recommended the Hudson Hotel. So if you saw the three-quarters blond girl in the borrowed shirred mink reading John Dos Passos thawing her fingers with a fortifying finger of Laphroig, you know the girl who was watching the room fill and left her fast map Manhattan when she left. That was me, if you picked up my map, I'd be happy to furnish my address. Though, truly, my crowning achievement this trip was mastering the subway, I must say, I think San Francisco has the ratio of crazy to sane on public transportation totally down. Then again, I have never really been to Queens... but just last week there was a crazy BEARDED lady on the 6 Parnassus. Top that Manhattan.


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